Mon, Jun 29, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Mental illnesses could be covered by insurance: CLA

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Council of Labor Affairs is mulling whether to include psychological disorders as occupational hazards eligible for coverage under labor insurance policies.

If it is put into effect, the plan could allow individuals who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression resulting from their occupation to apply to collect labor insurance payments, much in the same way other occupational hazards such as the loss of a limb are covered under labor insurance policies.

Shih Fa-chi (石發基), director of the council’s Department of Labor Insurance, said it could complete a set of “evaluation standards for psychological disorders resulting from work-related stress factors” as early as the beginning of next month.

EXPENSES

The standards would put in place a set of rules governing the evaluation of whether a worker who has suffered a mental illness as a consequence of his or her work would be able to receive compensation and reimbursement of medical expenses.

Huang Hsiao-ling (黃小陵), secretary-general of the Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries, said she hoped to see the plan come to fruition.

“In the past, of the people who have come to the group for assistance for occupational injuries, about 30 cases each year involve job-related mental illnesses,” she said.

APPLICATIONS

While people suffering from job-related mental illnesses have submitted applications to the council for labor insurance payments, none has been approved as having been caused by work, she said.

The council said that because there is a wide range of mental illnesses, it would not be appropriate for labor insurance to provide coverage for non-work-related mental illnesses.

The International Labour Organization, a UN agency does not list mental illnesses resulting from work-related stress in its list of work injuries, but evaluates compensation on a case-by-case basis, Shih said.

Shih said the council would gather experts on mental illness to work on the evaluation standards for work-related psychological problems, and may announce the results next month.

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